Newsletter : 3fax0729.txt
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Bush to Meet Sharon at White House Tuesday
By Paula Wolfson (VOA-White House)
President Bush meets Tuesday at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon. They will be discussing ways to move the Mideast peace process forward. This
meeting is designed, in large part, to underscore the president's personal involvement in
the peace process.
Four days after he welcomed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, Bush will sit
down for talks with Sharon. The Israeli leader is expected to detail steps that are sure
to be welcomed by Abbas, including the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said the planned release would improve relations
between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority and help facilitate progress to peace.
But he went on to say that no one wants prisoners freed who have blood on their hands.
Another contentious issue on the agenda for the Bush-Sharon meeting is Israel's plan to
build a fence between the Jewish State and the West Bank. President Bush has sharply
criticized the fence.
Israel Cancels Ceremony for Fence Dividing Israelis and Palestinians
By VOA News
Israel has canceled an official ceremony to mark completion of the first section of a
controversial fence between the Jewish state and the West Bank. No official explanation
was given for the cancellation, which came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
arrived in Washington for talks Tuesday with President Bush. Last week, President Bush
criticized the fence project, and Israeli media Monday said the ceremony was canceled to
avoid upsetting the White House.
Also Monday, Israeli troops fired rubber bullets to break up protests at the fence
site, near the West Bank village of Anin. Five pro-Palestinian activists, including one
American, were reported wounded.
The fence issue is expected to be high on the agenda of Tuesday's talks, along with
Israel's announcement of a planned release of more than 500 Palestinian prisoners.
Palestinians have expressed fears the fence will be accepted as a de facto boundary for a
future Palestinian state. Israeli settlers have complained the fence will cut off their
easy access to Israel.
Meanwhile, Israeli police said they suspect a missing soldier whose body was found
Monday was abducted and killed by Palestinian militants. The young soldier had been
missing for about a week. Police said they had intelligence reports of plans by militants
to abduct or kill Israeli soldiers.
Poraz: Black Hebrews To Receive Citizenship
Minister of the Interior Avraham Poraz announced he has reached a final decision
regarding the Black Hebrew community living in Dimona, in southern Israel. Poraz has
decided to grant them citizenship. Poraz's predecessor Eli Yishai was unwilling to grant
the non-Jewish community citizenship.
The Black Hebrews, a sect whose full name is "The Original African Hebrew Israelite
Nation of Jerusalem," have two centers of activity: Chicago and Dimona. About 2,000
members, led by Ben Ami Carter, live in Israel-most of them in Dimona, and the rest in
Arad and Mitzpei Ramon, with some others residing in other parts of the country.
The Black Hebrews acquired legal status in an agreement reached with the Ministry of
the Interior in May 1990. According to that agreement, the Black Hebrews were initially
granted tourist status with a B/1 visa that entitled them to employment; a year later they
were given temporary resident status (A/5) for a period of five years.
Responding to the decision, National Religious Party Knesset member Shaul Yahalom
stated that once again it is apparent that Mofaz of the pro-secular Shinui party prefers
non-Jews - working towards the destruction of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.
Christopher Reeve Visits Israel in His Quest for Paralysis Treatment
Calling Israel the "world center" for research on paralysis treatment, Christopher
Reeve set off for his first visit to the country this week, ISRAEL 21C reported. Over the
course of his visit, Reeve will learn about Israeli advancements in the field of stem cell
research related to paralysis and spinal cord injuries. The theater and film actor, who
portrayed "Superman," suffered a horseback-riding accident in 1995 during an equestrian
event that left him paralyzed from the neck down.
"I am looking forward to visiting Israel to learn more about their cutting edge
paralysis research," Reeve said. "Israel is the center of some of the world's leading
research. There are many new therapies in the pipeline as well as care strategies being
employed that may also benefit millions of people around the world living with paralysis."
Reeve, chairman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, plans to meet with
Israeli doctors and researchers working on remedies for paralysis. He is a strong
supporter of stem cell research, which some experts believe may unlock a way of reversing
the often-debilitating effects of spinal injuries, and believes a cure for paralysis is
close at hand.
Reeve has specifically requested to meet with neuroimmunologist Michal Schwartz of the
Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. "Schwartz and some of her colleagues are doing particularly
well in treating patients immediately after spinal cord injuries in what is called the
acute phase," Reeve said. "If a person can be treated right away, within the first 10 days
after the injury, it will have dramatic effect in what their life will be."
During his visit, Reeve is also planning to meet Israelis who have suffered similar
injuries as he did, including Ethiopian immigrant Elad Wass who was a victim of a homicide
bombing in Netanya, in May. The shrapnel that entered Wassa's abdomen left him paralyzed
from the waist down. Wassa expressed a wish to meet the actor in a letter, saying that
Reeve provided him with "hope and inspiration."
Reeve's itinerary includes stops at research centers, hospitals, rehabilitation
facilities, and centers for children with diseases and disabilities. He will meet with
government leaders and will also tour the sights, including Yad Vashem and the Old City of
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